Cooking and Fado (November 24, 2019)

We were not expected to meet Mariana until 10:00, so we eased into the day. Yawn…stretch…roll over. Dan and I slept for 10 hours straight so headed into the day refreshed. Good thing because we needed to be fortified for some more day-drinking. Grin.

Our driver, Armando, delivered us and Mariana to Mercado do Livramento, a colorful, vibrant, impeccably clean indoor market in the town of Setúbal, about 45 minutes outside of Lisbon. A beautiful blue and white tile mural ran from one side of the back wall to the other. The floor was black and white stone cobbles. We were there to meet our private chef for the day, Arturo, and his wife. After asking us a few questions about our food preferences we headed in to shop. We were all taken with how clean and spacious the market was. On offer were all sorts of fish to include long, skinny scabbard fish, live conch in the shell, live eels, and a ginormous swordfish head (with sword attached) and body which was being filleted as the orders came in. There were also stalls for bread, flowers, meat, cheese, fruit, and jams. We saw tomato jam and pumpkin jam which we were told were the best choices for cheese toppers.

It was a short walk from the market to Arturo’s charming, large, ultra-modern kitchen: Turyca Personal Chef. The contemporary table was set with placemats, cloth napkins, chairs of different designs, and the chef’s grandmother’s dishes and glassware. A mix of old and new. Once we finished gushing about the charm of the kitchen, wine was poured and aprons with button-on towels were distributed. A not-so-subtle message that we were expected to help, which we were excited to do. By we I mean primarily Emily who was singled out from the start as the number one sous chef, but we all participated except Dan who focused on cheering us on. We started by blanching raw almonds that we later pan fried and roasted resulting in The Best almonds I have ever eaten. We sampled yellow lupini beans, a cocktail treat, and were instructed on how to pierce the skin and suck out the tender inside. Next was fabulous homemade goose liver pate served with toasted bread so thin it had to be cut with a meat slicer. My main contribution to the feast was cheerleading and taking the innards out of two dozen quail eggs. Matt, pleased with his proficiency, was on teams custard and steak. Murf and Josie shelled all the shrimp; Josie also cleaned mushrooms; Murf mastered quail eggs with me. Throughout Emily helped prepare the grouper and roasted tomatoes, and she was schooled on skinning persimmons. We ate, drank, laughed, and cooked and then ate, drank, laughed, and cooked some more until it was 4:00 o’clock, a full two hours passed time to leave.

After a quick stop at LX Factory to check out a few of the trendy shops, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for our evening out, which, of course, involved More Food and Wine!

Our guide for the evening, Diogo, picked us up at the hotel at 7:00 o’clock for the short stroll to Mouraria, an old neighborhood known for authentic Fado, the national music style of Portugal. We went to Maria da Mouraria Restaurant and Bar, the home of a popular Fado singer. The living room had been converted into an intimate dining room that accommodates 30 diners tops. No sooner were we seated than food started arriving. The menu had been prearranged, so we enjoyed a wonderful variety of delicious dishes. At 9:00 o’clock two guitarists strolled out with their instruments and took seats in the middle of the room. One played the complicated 12-string Portuguese guitar and the other a 6-string. Then the singer walked in and began to sing four mournful tunes. Diogo commented that the singer had a raspy liquor and cigarette kind of voice which is popular on the streets. The musicians retired and the next course was served. Soon the guitarists were back accompanied by a lady singer who did four melancholy numbers before taking her leave. More food! believe it or not and then the owner did a set. Even to the untrained ear, he was the best of the three. We really enjoyed it without understanding a word. We just assumed they were singing about the traditional themes of life at sea, waiting and worrying spouses, poverty, and fate—themes made popular from Fado’s beginnings in the 1820s. We somehow made room for dessert and coffee and then headed back to the hotel. The guitarists were scheduled to do a final set, which was tempting because they played beautifully, but it was after 11:00 o’clock by then, so we decided to start our walk back to the hotel knowing we had an early start tomorrow.

What a full, fun, food-and-libation packed day! In spite of full bellies, we all fell into bed looking forward to more adventures.

… Tell Me More …

The 10.5 mile long Vasco da Gama Bridge over the Tagus River in Lisbon
is the second longest bridge in Europe.

The world record for the largest dining table: 15,000 people were served lunch on the Vasco da Gama Bridge as part of the inauguration celebrations in 1998.

Lisbon’s trams were originally called “americanos.”

Explorers Ferdinand Magellan and Vasco da Gama were Portuguese.
Christopher Columbus was not.

The ukulele was developed by Portuguese immigrants in Hawaii.



2 thoughts on “Cooking and Fado (November 24, 2019)

  1. This was such a fun day!!

    Matt Mongeon, PMP, Technical Project Manager II
    Engineering Management Office
    PMP,ITIL Foundation, RCV, OSA, SOA, PPO
    5159 Federal Blvd., San Diego, CA 92105
    • 619.266.5675 (ex. 55675) |( 619.822.4661 | •


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